May 22--SALEM -- A former Salem man has pleaded guilty to his role in an international identity and credit-card fraud scheme that may have cost banks more than $15 million.
Lamar Taylor, 38, who most recently listed an address in Beverly, was one of two people who pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud and identity theft during a hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Prosecutors say Taylor was part of a ring of criminals scattered around the United States and in Ukraine, where, investigators believe, hackers were able to gain access to the computers of a number of American banks and other businesses, including American Data Processing, which provides payroll services.
Some of the other businesses that were targeted included Aon Hewitt, Citibank, E-Trade, J.P. Morgan Chase, PayPal, TD Ameritrade and TIAA-CREF, as well as the Department of Defense.
Prosecutors said the ring created bank accounts or purchased pre-paid debit cards in the names of identity-theft victims, then diverted money to those accounts from the victims' real accounts or other sources of funds.
Taylor was one of the individuals who would make withdrawals of cash from the bogus accounts, then turn it over to higher-ups in the organization, who would allegedly wire the money to Ukraine.
Taylor and another defendant are facing up to five years in prison when they are sentenced on Sept. 3.
The case was investigated by a group of law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.
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